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Top 6 policies all businesses should have

Why should you have policies in place, even if you only have a handful of staff?

Policies provide clarity, consistency, and protection. They set clear expectations, ensure fair treatment, and safeguard both employees and employers.

If I had a dollar for every business owner who asked me to create policies to make sure their particular drama doesn’t happen again…

Question is: which ones should you have?

After working with dozens of businesses, here are my top 6.

1. Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy.

What is it for: Creating a safe and respectful workplace, where everyone is treated with dignity and fairness, and no one faces bullying, harassment, or discrimination.

What should be included: Clear definitions of bullying, harassment, and discrimination, as well as examples of unacceptable behaviour. Procedures for reporting incidents, conducting investigations, and taking appropriate actions. The policy should also note the importance of confidentiality and non-retaliation for those who report incidents.

2. Code of Conduct

What is it for: Setting the standards of behaviour for everyone.

What should be included: Expected conduct, values, and ethics that employees should adhere to in their interactions with colleagues, clients and suppliers. This is where you can define guidelines on integrity, respect, confidentiality, and compliance with laws and regulations.

3. Disciplinary and Grievance Policy

What is it for: Ensuring that conflicts are addressed fairly, promoting a harmonious work environment where everyone feels heard and treated fairly.

What should be included: Procedures for handling disciplinary actions when employees don't meet expected standards of conduct or performance. It should also include guidelines for addressing employee grievances and concerns in a timely and respectful manner.

4. Work Health and Safety Policy

What is it for: Injuries at work not only decrease productivity, but they can also impact your insurance premium. Having this policy in place helps you in creating a safe work environment.

What should be included: Your commitment to ensuring the health and safety of all employees (and visitors). Clear objectives, responsibilities, and procedures for identifying and addressing workplace hazards, promoting safety training, and complying with WorkSafeTas.

5. Leave Policy

What is it for: Clear guidelines and procedures for employees to request and manage their leave allowances effectively.

What should be included: Details on different types of leaves available (e.g., sick leave, annual leave, personal leave, parental leave, etc). The process for requesting and approving leave, including notice requirements, information on leave accrual, carry-over, and any limitations or restrictions.

6. Employee Handbook (OK it’s not a policy… but it’s worth writing about)

What is it for: While policies provide specific, detailed guidelines, your Employee Handbook is the one-stop-shop for important info. It covers a wide range of topics, including company culture, benefits, expectations, and procedures, providing employees with a holistic view of your business.

What should be included: An introduction to your business, policies related to employee benefits, leave, attendance, and dress code. Clear guidelines on workplace conduct, communication, and use of company resources. Information about performance reviews, career development, and opportunities for growth. Additionally, the handbook should address disciplinary procedures, grievance channels, and safety guidelines.


Policies should be tailored to your business, and its pain points:

Are your staff on the road often using your vehicles ► Consider having a Motor Vehicle Policy

Are you employing young staff who are spending time on TikTok instead of working? ► Consider having a Social Media Policy

Are you a medical practice dealing with sensitive information ► Consider having a Privacy Policy

You don’t have premises and your employees work from home ► Consider having a Work From Home Policy

Think about your pain points, and draft a policy that addresses them.

Workplace policies provide a straightforward solution to equip your business in effectively handling various common workplace issues.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

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